Christopher Hutchison co-founded ProsFit Technologies in 2014 and is the CTO. He became a double lower-limb amputee in 2009, and based on his experience decided that there must be a better solution to provide comfortable prosthetic sockets and prostheses at scale. Christopher is a multi-disciplinary economist/mathematician with background and qualifications related to economic development, accounting, quality assurance, automation and deep learning. He is the architect of ProsFit’s technology and business solutions. Prior to founding ProsFit, Christopher also built valuable experience in private equity, financial analysis, and business development consulting. Christopher will be joining us in our upcoming virtual event focusing on 3D Printed Prosthetics and Orthotics.
When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?
Christopher: In 2014 was my first encounter with 3D printing, at that time with a large-scale industrial 3D printer. It was a breathtaking experience to see the first socket appear from the printing process and then directly wear it to walk comfortably. I remember the deep moment of realization that this could indeed fundamentally revolutionize prosthetics provision and help to significantly improve fellow amputees’ lives. At that moment, it confirmed that we were on the right track with ProsFit.
What inspired you to start your journey?
Christopher: I became a double lower-limb amputee following an accident in 2009, and 4 years later still had not received sockets that fit comfortably to walk on. We understood quickly that this was not only a personal experience, but that a significant proportion of fellow amputees also received sockets that were not comfortable to use and be mobile with – and those in addition to the millions of amputees in the world who did not have access to any prosthetics provision at all. It was clear that traditional prosthetics could be improved upon, particularly with modern technologies already available, including 3D scanning, software, and 3D printing. We set ourselves the mission and vision to make this a reality and change lives around the world.
Who inspired you the most along this journey?
Christopher: My greatest inspiration along this journey in 3D printing has been and continues to be my father, Alan Hutchison. It is thanks to him that we set the mission and vision to develop a solution that could help amputees all over the world, and it is an incredible privilege to have the occasion to work together and learn so much from him. I’m also constantly inspired by our brilliant team, and also our partners, collaborators, and investors who are all driven to achieve these changes in the world. Last but definitely not least, the greatest inspiration for all of us remains those who have embraced changing their lives for the better, in some part thanks to the work we are doing together with ProsFit.
What motivates you the most for your work?
Christopher: Changing lives.
What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?
Christopher: The biggest challenges in 3D printing relate to fear of adoption and structural issues that cement the status quo. These include factors such as that many professionals have “always done it this way” and fear changes to this, particularly in case it could impact them or their job security. The same applies to major industry players, who fear their control of the system being disrupted. Structural issues include the ways in which education, licensing, and reimbursement are defined in a way that implicitly or explicitly assumes traditional socket manufacturing as the eternal state of prosthetics.
Globally the prosthetics industry continues to use inefficient, costly, artisanal approaches in capital-intensive clinics. We can do better! There’s an opportunity to “leapfrog” from a technological perspective, and radically improve performance. With digital solutions for prosthetics provision, the same funds can be deployed to fit 5 times as many #amputees, 5 times faster! Only highly scalable, innovative, proven, and regulated solutions like ProsFit’s can provide the capacity, speed, outreach, and cost-effectiveness needed to address the daunting and increasing volumes around the world and avoid a long-term humanitarian crisis.
If you were granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be?
Christopher: In regards to the domain of prosthetics and orthotics:
- A World where innovation provides limb wearers a choice of affordable, reliable and desirable prosthetic products and services
- All key stakeholders around the world understand that providing prosthetics to amputees is an investment and not a cost.
- That the prosthetics industry stops using costly and slow traditional methods and business models, “focusing on the few at the expense of the many”. It is simply not justifiable in today’s world.
What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore?
Christopher: Don’t do something only “because it’s always been done that way”. Be a pioneer and do what’s right. Learn every day. Find your purpose and motivation, and do everything you can to be the steward of your destiny and for the greater good.